TWO men jailed for life for the torture and murder of Lynda Spence in a West Kilbride flat have lost an appeal against their convictions and jail terms.

Colin Coats and Philip Wade, both 43, claimed their sentences of 33 years and 30 years - imposed following an 11-week trial last year - were ‘excessive’ and more than that imposed on the Lockerbie bomber.

Their rejected appeals focused on use of alleged inadmissible evidence and late disclosure of Crown evidence.

Ms Spence, 27, was last seen in Glasgow in 2011.

Her body has never been found.

Coats and Wade’s trial at the High Court in Glasgow heard that they forced Ms Spence into a car in Glasgow, in April 2011 before she was driven to a flat in West Kilbride.

Two former co-accused, David Parker and Paul Smith, who were both jailed for 11 years for assaulting Ms Spence, gave damning evidence against Coats and Wade and gave graphic descriptions of the torture of the financial adviser.

During an earlier hearing at the Appeal Court in Glasgow, QCs for the pair challenged their convictions claiming that trial judge Lord Pentland had erred in refusing a defence objection to a line of evidence that Wade had spoken to others about the alleged killing of a male.

They also contended that the Crown had failed to give adequate disclosure of Ms Spence’s recruitment as an informer or covert human intelligence source (CHIS) by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency a month before she disappeared.

The appeal judges, the Lord Justice General, Lord Gill, sitting with Lord Menzies and Lord Turnbull, ruled that there had been no miscarriage of justice.

In his findings Lord Gill stated: ‘There was direct eye-witness evidence from their former co-accused as to the abduction, detention and torture of the deceased.

There was forensic evidence of the deceased’s blood in the bathroom of the house in which they detained her.

There was extensive evidence that the flat in which the deceased had been kept had been cleaned.

There was evidence from a civilian witness that two men appeared with a van at an unoccupied rural property at which the first appellant’s brother used to live and burned a mattress and a chair.

The second appellant displayed a severed human thumb to one of the witnesses.

There was evidence of incriminating admissions by the appellants from a variety of witnesses with whom the appellants had conversed after the event.” He added: ‘In this powerful case the most telling evidence was that of the co-accused.

"It destroyed the idea, put forward by the defence, that the deceased was alive and living abroad.  "From that and the other evidence in the case, there emerged, in my view, an overwhelming case that the appellants murdered the deceased.” Wade’s counsel, Gary Allan QC, had argued that the 30-year term imposed on him was excessive and was more than that imposed on the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, who received a 27-year minimum term for the mass murder.

But the judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal agreed that there was ‘a number of aggravating factors that entitled the trial judge to impose a high punishment part’.   Lord Gill stated: “The trial judge set them out in his sentencing statement.

"This was a barbaric crime that merited the severest penalty.

"The sentencing judge, who heard all of the evidence, considered that these sentences were appropriate.

"He has clearly articulated his reasons for imposing them.

"His reasons are cogent.

"I see no basis on which we should interfere with them.”